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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
"As classic Mustangs came off the assembly line, they were never much on handling. To keep assembly cost and base stickerprice low, suspension systems were designed merely to provide a decent ride and keep the car between the lines. It took seasoned race-car builders, including Carroll Shelby, Holman-Moody, and others to get these cars to handle. And when you compare the way these cars were to what's available now, that wasn't saying much. We will give it to those pioneers who paved the way-they spanked more than their share of Corvettes in SCCA B-production competition.

Ed Moss, president and CEO of Total Cost Involved (TCI), is one of those pioneers who handed us quality and extraordinary handling on a silver platter. He founded TCI in 1974 to better serve the street-rod industry with an array of life-enhancing services, parts, and accessories. Much of it began with reproduction Ford Model A frames that left a lasting impression on street rodders. Since that time, TCI has brought us so much more. Through the years, Moss has won untold awards for extraordinary levels of engineering and product. So it should come as no surprise he and the crew at TCI have come up with an independent front-suspension system for early Mustangs and other classic Fords.

The TCI Custom IFS system is engineered to lower your Mustang's stance, dramatically improve handling, and make room for larger engines. Impressively, the TCI Mustang Custom IFS is easier to install than you might think. It's a weld-in system that involves a minimal amount of chassis cutting and welding. Once it's all dialed in, you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

This is the kind of technology for classic Fords that gets our motors revving. If you're squeamish about cutting your classic Mustang, the TCI Mustang Custom IFS isn't for you. However, if you're a progressive thinker who owns a run-of-the-mill six or V-8 Mustang and you're not bothered by cutting and welding, the TCI Mustang Custom IFS will make a huge difference in ride, handling, and stance.

The TCI system is a weld-on package that includes framerail reinforcement plates, inner fender panels (that replace shock towers), a crossmember, shock mounts, urethane-bushed tubular control arms, new spindles, linkage, power rack-and-pinion steering, 11-inch disc brakes with OEM-style calipers (which means you can buy brake pads and parts anywhere), coilover shocks, and more. TCI has all the goods to turn your eye-catching classic Mustang into a high-stopping, road-hugging, performance car.

We stopped by to watch one of TCI's first kits being installed in its project Mustang. Let's get started."

1 It's difficult to get excited over the Mustang's factory underpinnings complete with antiquated drum brakes. Before you is what was an economical approach to suspension technology in 1960, pioneered in the Falcon and Comet compacts. Sticking the coil and shock over the upper control arm provided an acceptable ride, but it was noisy and didn't do much for handling. It's time to take it all off and start over with a clean slate.

2 The transformation begins by removing all of your Mustang's current suspension and steering systems, then cutting out the shock towers. A good cutting wheel and face/eye/ear/lung protection will get you started. Shown here is a plasma cutter-a nice investment that's a dream to use but not necessary to get the job done. You want a clean cut, but don't go too far. Buy lots of cutting wheels-you're probably going to need them.

3 Installation begins with a clean front framerail. Before you begin, check body dimensions against your Ford Shop Manual. Make sure you have a straight unit-body before getting started. If not, you'll need to see a body and frame professional about getting your Mustang's body pulled straight because nothing will fit right until you do. The same goes for the framerail itself; if it's rusty or weak, replace it before continuing.

4 TCI provides these frame-reinforcement pieces, which must be welded in place first per the TCI instructions. Alignment and positioning is easy because these pieces line up with existing idler arm and steering-gear bolt holes. You'd have to work hard at messing this up.

5 Reinforcement plates are welded to the framerail. For solid integrity, always use the proper welding equipment, wire diameter, and speed for the job. For critical items such as suspension, we usually recommend using a certified welder.

6 The shock mounts are welded to the frame reinforcements on each side. See your TCI instructions for precise measurements.

7 The crossmember is welded to the framerails once proper dimensions are established. Keep in mind there's no margin for error. Get this wrong and forget everything else lining up. Again, follow TCI's instructions to the letter.

8 The previously welded shock mounts are welded to the framerail like this. TCI has clad any fresh steel in a gray epoxy primer to prevent flash rusting of the new metal.

9 The completely welded-in crossmember looks like this and is ready for epoxy primer sealer.

10 Once the crossmember is welded in place to TCI specifications, you'll have a reference point for the sway-bar mounts-exactly 12 inches from crossmember to center as shown. The TCI sway-bar mounts replace the Ford mounts completely and are much stronger.

11 A small amount of framerail trimming is required in order to clear the TCI sway bar that comes with the suspension kit. Be prepared for some paint touch up and application of new undercoat/sealer. The sway bar is an inch in diameter and is tunable via adjustable Heim-joint ends.

12 Both the upper and lower tubular control arms feature urethane bushings with stainless shims. Camber and caster adjustments are performed at the upper arms.

14 The ididit steering column ties into the steering rack via a Borgeson Universal joint and shaft. Shown here is the installed steering shaft. The U-joint angles can't be too severe nor too straight. Instead, they should be in parallel with one another for smooth, safe operation. Any binding is unacceptable. Use Loctite on all fasteners.

15 This is the TCI power rack-and-pinion unit-an off-the-shelf piece that's easy to service.

16 Fender panels are installed in place of the factory shock towers. They must be drilled with a 5/16-inch bit to match the factory bolt holes.

17 Completely installed, TCI's custom IFS looks like this-ready for something as large as a DOHC Ford Modular, FE or a 460.

18 This good-looking IFS package lowers the center of gravity, improves handling, and makes room for more power. Count on less body roll and vastly improved ride quality. Impressive 11-inch, single-piston front discs improve stopping power.

19 Up close, we get to see the fully adjustable billet coilover. Wrapped inside a 350-pound-per-inch coil spring, this guy will tighten up handling yet improve ride quality. Note the adjustable front sway bar. *Wilwood 12" brake kit pictured*

20 If you don't want adjustable coilovers, there are always airbags, which install in place of the coilovers and offer an adjustable ride-height option right from the driver seat.

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